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Antidotes To Unfair Persuasion



Guest articles > Antidotes To Unfair Persuasion


by: Marty Stoneman


Preface by Dave: This is not a normal 'article' but I am so impressed by Marty's mission that I'm including it here. If you're interested in following up, please contact Marty at:


I’ve made my living as a patent attorney for the better part of my life. My core interests for both personal and professional use seem to center around how some of our species successfully fool others of our species – briefly put, unfair persuasion.

When I recently found Dave’s website (, I was impressed with the amount of work Dave had done in accumulating information about persuasion. I also noticed that when I searched the website for “antidotes” to persuasion (a primary area of my interest), I encountered only the usual suspects---for example readings about “critical thinking”.

Since all of my personal experience, my evidence collecting, and my model making indicated to me (from a scientific point of view) that by far the most powerful ways of fooling people have little to do with intellectual understanding — including matters like “logical fallacies” or “critical thinking”. So I am writing this article to briefly introduce my findings and thoughts in this area.

First, I have found that the most powerful methods of unfair persuasion are accomplished as soon as initial sensory information is processed by people in a normal fashion. The persuasion works mostly by controlling associations – as with pleasure or pain – so that the “fooling” has already been accomplished before it is, or can be, thought about.

Second, I have further found that certain kinds of training and practice can be used to resist such effects of such unfair persuasion,. And I have, through many years of workshopping (including with children), found ways to make such training highly efficient.

Third, obviously such models and training techniques may be of value to those who are willing to use such unfair persuasion to fool voters, consumers, followers, etc., to the ends of increasing purse and/or power. But interest in the antidote side of the problem seems indeed small, perhaps because of impressions in us that such matters are “too complex”. Such matters may be too subversive to power structures to openly pursue, but they are certainly not too complex when once understood and practiced.

What do I hope to accomplish by asking Dave to post this article on his website? The relatively unusual nature of the website might attract visitors who, like me, wish to promote defenses – antidotes – to unfair persuasion. Together we may be able to ensure continuing availability and growth, to the masses of our species, of antidotes to foil those who would fool us.

If enough of you are interested, and assuming you discover that I am not fooling you, it may be worthwhile, for example, to promote a series of conferences and/or teleconferences or virtual conferences to train ourselves and work on spreading such training.


Contributor: Marty Stoneman

Published here on: 10-Apr-07

Classification: Counselling, Development



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